This didn’t come until last week when Ecoweb finally said something through their Econet investor relations page. Ecoweb, a wholly owned subsidiary of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe revealed that it is in the final testing phase of mobile WiMax project and will be opening it up to subscribers in next month.
Speaking about the deployment, Ecoweb General Manager, Tororiro Isaac Chaza said:
“The deployment of Mobile WiMAX will take place in two phases. In the initial phase, a total investment of 100 WiMAX base stations will be deployed across the country, targeting our main business centres. All the network elements are in place and testing and network optimisation is currently in progress. Deployment of the service is envisaged to begin April 2010.”
The first mobile 4th Generation technology implementation in Zimbabwe, Ecoweb’s mobile WiMax will effectively put Zimbabwe at par with first-world countries in terms of telecoms infrastructure.
Isaac Chaza added that “the Mobile WiMAX network will be capable of carrying mobile, nomadic and fixed services ranging from individual netbooks to large corporate networks. The technology is also suitable for use as backhaul for mobile networks.”
Deployment of WiMAX countrywide will provide a high-speed mobile Internet access platform. Subscribers will be able to access the internet using mobile accessories such as laptops, netbooks, smartphones, gaming devices, cameras, camcorders, music players and other such equipment as long as the gadgets support mobile WiMax. For gadgets that do not natively support WiMax, USB dongles like the one pictured here can be plugged in to access the network.
Econet is already offering 3G/EDGE/GPRS over its mobile network and Ecoweb says mobile WiMax is meant to complement these services to “With this launch, the Econet group will now be able to provide seamless data services tailored to the customer’s needs, from top-end large corporate use to the mass market.”
We foresee possible issues with the ‘actual’ speed of the 4G technology. Like 3G and other such access technologies, the realised speed is as good as the upstream pipe size. The last mile connection will probably have the capacity to deliver the promised speeds but upstream bottle necks will throttle the throughput.
With the current satellite limitations on Zimbabwe’s upstream links, true 3G and 4G speeds are not nearly possible. This is why current news about Econet fibre backbone that will connect the country to the SEACOM submarine fibre cable is much welcome. It definitely will change the game.